2009 Nissan Frontier – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan has officially cranked out 1 million of the company's Frontier pickup trucks. By the time the first truck to bear the Frontier name rolled off of the line in 1997 as a 1998 model, Nissan had already established itself as a purveyor of fiendishly tough, inexpensive midsized pickups. According to PickupTrucks.com, the Japanese automaker first got into the American truck market back in 1959 when the Datsun 1000 landed on our shores. But it wasn't until the Datsun 520 showed up six years later that sales began to really take off.

Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to manufacture pickups in the U.S. in 1983 when the company began producing vehicles at its Smyrna, Tennessee plant. The move avoided a 25-percent tariff on foreign-built pickups, and since then, Nissan has built more than 2 million small trucks at the facility.

PickupTrucks.com reports that Nissan is working hard at the next-generation Frontier, but the model is facing poor sales at the moment. Last year, the automaker managed to sell just under 40,500 units – less than half of the 100,000 Hardbody pickups Nissan sold in 1987. Head over to PickupTrucks.com for an excellent rundown of the history of Nissan trucks in America.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Hardbody pickups were the best that Nissan built. Then along came the first Frontier, with its wimpy styling, and the lame "dogs love trucks" ad campaign with the old Asian man. They've never recovered.
      richeastham
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe if they returned to the "small" formula that worked so well for the 520/620/720 they would be better off. All mid-size pick-ups are ridiculously huge these days - American producers included.
      BB79826
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't advertising a HUGE part of vehicle sales? I mean, the new Jetta is duping about 15,000 people a month into thinking it's cheaper and better than before, when it's not. The Tacoma used to sell like hotcakes when Toyota advertised the hell out of it 5 years agor. So really, I think Nissan could be doing more. I just don't think most people know the Frontier exists. And that's a shame because it's a good truck with a fantastic powertrain.
      GoFaster58
      • 3 Years Ago
      With Ford refusing to keep the Ranger around I'm seriously considering the Frontier.
        MAX
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GoFaster58
        An F150 V6 has the same hwy gas mileage as a 4 cyl Frontier, both are rated at 23mpg. Around town the Nissan is 19 mpg and the Ford is 17 mpg. A far more useful Transit van gets 21mpg city and 26 hwy mpg.
      SAM
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 90's Nissan Hardbody was a tank. Not pretty or fancy, just basic and it did the job and never failed.
      SpikedLemon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I loved my Frontier. VQ40 w/ 6spd manual = fun.
      Daniel Spalinger
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is a great platform and the 2nd best selling "small" truck in the US right now (behind only the Tacoma). It's never been marketed strongly here in the US as compared with the Navara elsewhere in the world. I'm turning mine into a multi-purpose--stage, hill, desert, rallycross, race vehicle: http://nismostuff.blogspot.com/2011/06/wheels-tires-and-front-suspension.html
      Mercennarius
      • 3 Years Ago
      Frontiers are great trucks!
      Rob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Been more than happy with my 07, great midsize truck that gets good mileage with an engine that's almost too fun to be in a pickup. Only regret now is cause I decided not to get the manual... I miss the third pedal every day! Really think Nissan could do a lot more to sell them advertising-wise, especially since you can get killer deals on them now (especially compared to Tacomas).
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lol they still make those? Why?
      ken
      • 3 Years Ago
      F150 almost sold 1 million units per year.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ken
        [blocked]
      DipStick!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great truck. May we never have to see the final Frontier. /punintended //sorry
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